Meet Sara Jothi: YourQuote’s Most Popular Doctor-Writer
Our writer and a teammate Kartiki Bhatnagar caught up with Sara Jothi, the doctor-writer that YQ absolutely loves. In this freewheeling conversation revolving around writing, childhood and her profession, Sara shares her gripping life story. Read on.
1. Describe yourself in 250 words — Imagine writing a tiny autobiography.
Well, hi! I’m rather stumped actually. My life is pretty plain. I was born and brought up in this beautiful beach city: Pondicherry. My world is so small; my parents, my little sister, friends, books and me! I’m close to them and they mean a lot to me than anything else in life. I’m a daddy’s girl through and through, a doctor by profession and have been flirting with writing for a while now. I’m not so outgoing, often drifting into my virtual world to care. I’m more of a listener. My brain to mouth filter is so thick that I usually don’t say as much as I think. Books and coffee are my two addictions and I’m completely unapologetic about them. I love to drive around, to be with friends and to sleep (which I do every chance I get).
People who know me will pitch my emotional quotient so low because, personally nothing can faze me that easily. Even if something does I’ll hardly show. Everything happens for a reason is my ultimate belief. I don’t see the world black and white, I accept that grey exist and I don’t judge. I take pride in who I’m as a person. I’m a strong believer of family, marriage, love in whatever form or tags and loyalty. I’m strong headed but I’m so much a coward to wear my heart on my sleeves. When I love, I go all in. There is no mid way for me. A person whom I love can hurt me so easily, I get sensitive with my dad most of all. I have a bad temper, a little lazy, very bad in expressing myself except for my words inside my head. My happiness is a reflection of my loved ones, as far as they are smiling it’s all well with me. I have a professional side that’s constantly stressful and demanding so I keep my personal life as simple and uncomplicated as it can be. That’s how I cope! And, I guess that pretty much covers ME.
2. What started you with writing?
I have written randomly back in school just for fun but to tell you exactly, during my third year final exams I got so close to a complete meltdown. The syllabus was like the size of a whale and there was only a single night between two exams. I threw it all aside, sat down and started typing a prologue. That was my first story and I did it because I knew I’d freak out if I didn’t divert my mind then from my book. Writing came to me during my tough times.
3. Who are your major influences?
My Dad and Mom are my big influences in life. Dad is a self made person and Mom stood with him through thick and thin. Despite all the struggles, they stood tall and never let a single thing touch me or my sister. Even when there was nothing, they always smiled and went ahead the next day. That’s probably why I’m so unfazed when life throws me a curve ball. I just blindly believe I’ll survive and I always have. I used to read newspapers a lot and whatever I could get my hands on when I was a kid.
I remember this particular column I’d read when I was eight or nine, about how there was a major difference in the sex ratio in few states of India. How brides were bought from underprivileged families just to procreate and keep the family lines alive. I didn’t get much of it, obviously, but I knew this much, that a single woman can’t be a wife for five sons during weekdays and play wife for their dad at weekends. That was wrong, I got that. She was offered help to get out of that house but she refused because she’s been getting food regularly after marriage and if she left, that wealthy twisted family would go after her family. To this day, I can’t shake it off and I react strongly to sexual abuses and marital rapes because of her. Even now, I wonder what happened to her after that. Also, I listen a lot, pick up things from people and of course my life’s experiences; the situations I go through influence me and my writing a lot.
4. You said, “ My brain to mouth filter is so thick that I usually don’t say as much as I think.” How so?
I’ve been told that I have a sharp tongue. Which is true, especially when I’m angry. I tear apart the person responsible. I kind of trained myself to stop and think before talking to avoid regrets. It wasn’t hard because basically when somebody is talking to me, I think a lot about it in my mind but I’d say back so little in a nutshell. I’m just this way, I’m not a person for small talk. But if you’ve got real substance to talk then…bring it on!
5. What is the most fulfilling thing about writing?
Apart from it being your solace, you can win hearts and touch lives. That’s the most fulfilling and exhilarating thing about writing. I say this because I’ve felt this: when you get to know that your words made a difference in somebody’s life, that feeling is just so intricate to explain. When people love you just for your words, wish you well without even knowing your face, that’s such a big happiness.
6. What hooks you to YourQuote?
The response here is so hearty. I’d been with silent readers all along. Here people stop by to pat you when you do good and to knock sense into you when you make mistakes. They do it so sweetly with respect. Honestly, I’ve always preferred my PC to write before YQ; it’s addicting. This is the first platform that I’ve been recognized this much. App is user friendly, the concept is so gripping and it made my name Google searchable!. This buzzing energy of creativity wrapped around by a family vibe is just amazing. What’s not to like?
7. Tell us any one interesting anecdote from your life which shaped you into the person you are today.
I have no memory of this, but this has been recounted to me so many times. When I was in primary it was routine for our maid to pick me up from school and drop me to my grandpa. He was paralyzed and bed ridden; all he could do was to reach out to the bedside phone. Even then he was extremely vigilant with me, no surprise there for, he was a retired cop. After an hour or so when office time was up, Dad would come and pick me from Grandpa’s. One day, the maid didn’t turn up, I wasn’t dropped to him on time and all hell broke loose. When Dad came to check in school, he says that my principle was antsy and so restless. He’d requested my dad, and I quote “I’m not complaining sir, but please take your daughter to her grandpa before taking her anywhere. School was over before an hour and I couldn’t sit down in my chair, your father wouldn’t let up. He’s been ringing me every next minute to check on her. Please take her to him and show him she’s fine.” Dad always laughs saying this, he went to my school panicked and it was all funny later. My grandpa was an extremely affectionate person. He had love for every child of his. He is no more now and I don’t remember this. But, this incident and many such remind me time and again that I was loved. My brothers, sisters and brother-in-laws are extremely protective of me. I’ve been generously blessed with family and friends who reached out to me as far as my memory goes. I know what it feels like to be loved and have a such strong support system. I came out of such positivity and love. So that is how I’m as a person. I go out of my way to give it when I see somebody going without, I can’t bare my soul to everybody I come across in life but I’m genuine with my friendships and I can’t say no to anybody, don’t know if it’s a plus or minus for me. Even if it’s just one person, everybody should have that. When you stop searching and start giving, then it comes back. I’m not constantly in-your-face kind of a person but my friends know I’m solid. I give, that’s the kind of person I’m and I’m like this because I was given all that love growing up.
8. If there is a novel based on your life, what would it be called?
Maybe it should be called ‘Here’s to hope!’. I’ve never thought ‘this is my end’ and I don’t think I will, ever. There’s always more, there’s always hope.
9. Who are your favourite writers on YourQuote?
Can I just say plenty? My most favorite is Abhinav Nair. I love his writing style and have a serious crush on it. One another writer who shares it would be Swetha.K, I wish I had it. Sukoon, Sakshi, Ayena, Sreeporna sir, Navita Jain, Vaishnavi, Pallavi khare, Shourya, Saachi, these people handpick their context, things that are oh-so casual and present them with class. I love poems that Bharath, Harsh, Debashis, Parag( I absolutely love his language), Arsh, Aesha, Yash raj, Abhilekh and Saket come up with. Rubal, Anupma, Jehan, Satish, A.AG(when in English, of course), Nikitha Pandey are my star one liners. And some things Ankur, Prem, Sneha come up with always catch me off guard. I love so many people’s work on YQ and I’ve conveyed as much in comments whenever I could.
10. You are a doctor. Do you think that your career has had a very significant impact on your writings?
Yes, hospital is a place where emotions get as genuine as it can be. Grief, birth, death, frustrations, break downs, recovery and joy. I have it around me in every corner. Hospital walls have heard secrets and have known things than any other place. I have so many memories of so many patients, I’ve listened a lot of confessions, regrets and held people when they were in their most vulnerable moments. These are real, raw people. The impact is staggering. And it’s ethical to be a confidant, if you don’t know to hold it in, you’ll break.
11. If there is one thing you would like to change in the world of medicine, what would it be?
I’d like for cancer to just leave the world. Like polio, I wish it could be eradicated, which is not possible, by the way. I’d like for it to have a cure and not be a death warrant irrespective of its stage and spread. Medicine is growing by the minute as we speak, we have come a long way and there will be a day this happens.
Secondly, It’d be good to have taboos removed from diseases, if only people could take their stigma and stuff it elsewhere. I very much want for Psychology to flourish and create awareness, brain is just like your bones and flesh. I pains me to see people being wary of psychologists and patients being tagged for life for an illness. It’s ridiculous. They are not crazy, just disturbed and we are here to help. They fear to come forward and take a helping hand because of all this stigma and nonsense people spew mindlessly, it’s even worse in rural areas. If people can’t show a little compassion to a suffering fellow human being then the least they can do is to shut up about it.
12. Do you feel that if you had taken up writing as a career, life would have been different and happier?
I don’t think so, now I have a solid ground to fall back on and I’m experimenting. I’d like to publish my work someday. I want to. But at the moment, I’m enjoying that I’m free to write what I wish. If it were to be my bread winner maybe I’d be forced to write things. I cannot fake my pen, ever. Writing is my reprieve, my escape and something I’m passionate about. I wouldn’t want to complicate that one thing with repeated deadlines, agents etc. It will become that way if I take it as a sole career. I’m a proud doctor, I don’t regret this skill I hard earned, if anything, I consider this a gift. I’m happy this way. Thank you!
13. If there’s one thing that you’d want to change about your writing, what would it be?
I wish I could write poems with ease, I don’t have it. And I’d like to write more one liners, learn more words. I’m trying to.
14. How did Pondicherry influence your writing style?
I like to write about beach, travels, life, love, solitude and silence. That’s everything this city stands for, no mad rush here and I love it just like it is. Pondicherry has that charm. It’ll trick you into falling in love with it and you wouldn’t know how and when, you’d just get used to the endless tides and silent hum of it.
15. What is the one thing YourQuote taught you?
That writing does not have to be my lonely journey anymore, that I have a whole bunch of people who understand the gibberish language my mind talks to travel with. :)
Here are some of Sara’s best quotes:
(About the interviewer: Kartiki Bhatnagar is a 16-year-old blogger and a certified drama queen. She blogs at embracinglife.ml)
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